Lean Leadership

Key Idea

 Lean Leadership originated in Japan from an unlikely place, Toyota Headquarters. The idea of lean leadership was created to eliminate “muda” or waste while streamlining production. Through a continual effort to decrease inefficiency, the lean leader strives to create a more efficient organization. 

Book to read 

The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership: Achieving and Sustaining Excellence through Leadership Development

by Jeffrey K. Liker and Gary L. Convis (2011)

Quick Take from the Book 

The seven types of waste that a lean leader focuses on includes:

1. Delay: Delay on the part of customers waiting for service or for delivery, time spent in queues or awaiting a response, or when the item/service was not delivered as promised.

2. Duplication: When a staff member has to re-enter data, repeat details on forms, copy information, or answer queries from several sources within the same organization.

3. Unnecessary Movement: Redundancy of movement within a process or poor ergonomics in the service encounter.

4. Unclear Communication: Time spent seeking clarification, confusion over product or service use, and wasting time finding a location that may result in misuse or duplication.

5. Incorrect Inventory: When inventory is out-of-stock, when the provider is unable to get exactly what was required, or when substitute products or services are unavailable.

6. Opportunity Lost to Retain or Win Customers: This occurs when there is a failure to establish rapport, ignoring customers, or when the staff is rude to customers.

7. Service Transaction Errors: This occurs when there are product defects, service errors, or lost/damaged goods.

Quote Of Note 

 In reference to the view that workers have become automatons prior to the innovation of the Lean Production System-“This worldview is pervasive. It has become so completely the norm within business environments that people don’t even see it, just as a fish cannot see water.” –The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership: Achieving and Sustaining Excellence through Leadership Development.

See also: Results-Based Leadership

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